Have 5 facts about the rhino on #WorldRhinoDay

rhino world rhino day
Rhino at Whipsnade Zoo, Dunstable

Today is World Rhino Day. It’s an annual event that celebrates the horned quadruped and also aims to raise awareness of its plight on the planet.

If you visited Twitter today, you’d have been bombarded by a slew of sentiment from the social network’s users (and even more adorable videos like the one below from Chester Zoo).

But while we love a good viral video, we also appreciate a good fact.

Five remaining species of rhino roam the planet

The white, black, Indian, Sumatran and Javan rhino still inhabit the landscapes of Africa and the Asian subcontinent, but some subspecies are facing dire crises.

The West African black rhino is presumed extinct, while the northern white rhino is faring slightly better: three specimens remain in Kenya, and they receive round-the-clock armed body guards to ensure their safety.

In total there are estimated to be around 20 000 white rhino remaining. The Javan rhino is the most critically endangered, with as few as 30 living specimens.

South Africa loses more than three rhinos a day to poaching

In 2016, over 1000 rhinos were killed in South Africa alone. And although this number has been declining since 2014, it still suggests that over three animals are killed in the country every day.

In Africa, more than 7000 specimens have been killed this past decade.

Europeans thought they looked like Pokemon

German printmaker and painter Albrecht Dürer’s first sketches of the rhino in the 1500s looked an awful lot like Rhyhorn — the rhino pokemon.

And although the sketch wasn’t completely accurate — Dürer used a bit more creative license than today’s biologists — Europe scooped it up.

“So convincing was Dürer’s fanciful creation that for the next 300 years European illustrators borrowed from his woodcut, even after they had seen living rhinoceroses without plates and scales,” the British Museum explains.

Only elephants are larger than white rhinos

…on land at least.

An adult white rhino can tip the scales at 3500kg — more than two Volkswagen Golfs. African elephants are typically around 6000kg.

The rhino is the least popular member of the big five worldwide, according to Google

The leopard, lion, buffalo, elephant and rhino are the five animals that belong to Africa’s big five, but the rhino is the least popular.

Looking at Google’s search trends since records began in 2004, the rhino has been constantly bested by its four contemporaries.


In this regard, the lion reigns supreme.

When looking specifically at South Africa’s search queries, the rhino is more prevalent in Google Search users’ minds, lagging only behind the lion and elephant in recent years.


Feature image: William Warby via Flickr (CC 2.0 BY, resized)

Andy Walker
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